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'Meet the Press' Panel Fawns Over 'Tender Moment' of Obama Revealing Biggest Regret

At the end of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, the entire panel of guests was enthralled by President Obama sharing his biggest regret during an overseas townhall event – wishing he spent more time with his mother before her death. After playing a sound bite of the President, host David Gregory gushed: "What a tender moment, and a great life lesson in that, right?" [Listen to the audio]

Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden proclaimed: "And I have to say, as a mom, I can't think of a better message myself....I know the President's mother did die at an early age. And he actually talked a lot about her when he was talking about health care, because she didn't have some of the health care protection." That presidential talking point used to sell ObamaCare was proven false in 2011.

Even the conservative panelists were caught up in the Obama adulation. Citadel political science professor Mallory Factor hailed the revelation:

That's classic Obama. And that's classically why he won the last time. All the polls on the issues had him down. But people really respond to him. And he does a magnificent job. And I believe he's sincere about that, too. This is the reason he's President of the United States and Mitt Romney lost.

National Review editor Rich Lowry followed up: "Just for the record, what I'm doing when I get off the set is going and calling my mom"

No one mentioned any of Obama's failures or scandals while in office as other possible regrets he may have.

Gregory did find time to point out policy missteps by the Bush administration: "The issue of regret in politics, expressing regret, I'll never forget talking to Bush advisors at the height of the Iraq War. And they're feeling like, 'Look, if we admit a mistake on something, you in the press will kill us.' Which says something about the state of journalism, then and now."

In an earlier interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Sunday, Gregory portrayed the Iraq war as an event that inspired terrorism.

At the end of the show, Gregory concluded: "These are important moments for leaders to reflect and say, 'You know what? This is something that I did that was wrong. And I'm trying to work through this.' It is a great teaching moment."

Here is a full transcript of the April 27 segment:

11:26 AM ET

DAVID GREGORY: Another moment this morning happening that I wanted to share is a moment from – you know, whenever the president goes overseas, there's a lot of press conferences. We love that. And there's another opportunity to take questions. This was actually a townhall that the President had and he took a question. And he was asked about his regrets. Here's what he said.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I regret not having spent more time with my mother. Because she died early. She got cancer and right around when she was my age actually – she was just a year older than I am now – she died. It happened very fast, in about six months.

GREGORY: What a tender moment, and a great life lesson in that, right?

NEERA TANDEN [PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS]: And I have to say, as a mom, I can't think of a better message myself. I have, you know, you're always hoping your kids grow up, they'll think things like that. But I know the President's mother did die at an early age. And he actually talked a lot about her when he was talking about health care, because she didn't have some of the health care protection.

MALLORY FACTOR [PROFESSOR, THE CITADEL]: David, that's classic Obama. And that's classically why he won the last time. All the polls on the issues had him down. But people really respond to him. And he does a magnificent job. And I believe he's sincere about that, too. This is the reason he's President of the United States and Mitt Romney lost.

RICH LOWRY [EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW]: Just for the record, what I'm doing when I get off the set is going and calling my mom.

GREGORY: Yeah, exactly.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG [COLUMNIST, THE ATLANTIC]: Just for the record, I'm going to go call his mom.

GREGORY: The issue of regret in politics, expressing regret, I'll never forget talking to Bush advisors at the height of the Iraq War. And they're feeling like, "Look, if we admit a mistake on something, you in the press will kill us." Which says something about the state of journalism, then and now.

But these are important moments for leaders to reflect and say, "You know what? This is something that I did that was wrong. And I'm trying to work through this." It is a great teaching moment.

LOWRY: Yeah. I mean people are wary of doing it, obviously. That's because they come off as weakness.

GREGORY: Yeah.

LOWRY: But the American people are tremendously forgiving. And oftentimes, you're going to benefit from actually being frank about something you regret or know you got wrong.

GREGORY: Yeah. I remember in synagogue growing up, hearing a sermon about the importance of – to your loved ones, to your friends – making a point and saying, "I love you." You never know. We're so grateful to be in this moment. We should rejoice in it and tell somebody how much we love them. So I love all of you.

[LAUGHTER]

GREGORY: And thank you for being here and making this a wonderful conversation.  

LOWRY: You're bringing us to tears here.

GREGORY: I know.

GOLDBERG: A highly emotional Meet the Press.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.